Student-Sponsored Tanzanian Orphan Visits Wilkes University

by Web Services

Wilkes University communication studies students will meet a Tanzanian orphan they have sponsored for the last four years when he visits campus from Oct. 6-20. Kihinga George, 21, will arrive in the United States for the 15-day visit sponsored by Linda Winkler, Wilkes University professor of anthropology and sociology, and donor Ed Meehan.

Wilkes University’s student-run public relations agency Zebra Communications has been sponsoring Tanzanian orphans’ educations through its “Embrace a Child in Tanzania” campaign since 2011. Under the leadership of Jane Elmes-Crahall, professor of communication studies and faculty moderator of Zebra, the campaign provides tuition money to students in Tanzania, where the opportunity for an education is not guaranteed. Tanzanian students pay to attend good secondary schools and compete for admission to university.

Students involved with Zebra Communications will take George on several outings, including lunch and a movie, a trip to Hillside Farms, and boating. He will also attend classes on campus in anthropology, cross-cultural communication, nursing and pharmacy.

The highlight of George’s campus visit will come on Monday, Oct. 12, when he meets with Elmes-Crahall’s Fundamentals of Public Relations Writing class and members of Zebra Communication’s “Embrace a Child in Tanzania” account team. George will present a discussion on the topic “Preparing for University” and entertain questions from the students and local media. The discussion and press conference will begin at 11 a.m. in Breiseth Hall Room 105.

In addition, he will join the Multicultural and Diversity Club at a dinner, visit Misericordia University, travel to New York City with Wilkes students and Evene Estwick, associate professor of communications, and to western Pennsylvania, where he will meet the Rev. Ralph Jones, bishop of the Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and take part in a wedding celebration.

George has become a familiar face to many current and former Wilkes students and faculty since Zebra Communications began its sponsorship. He was featured in the 2012 documentary It Takes a Village, created by Wilkes alumna Kirstin Cook when she was a student participating in a study abroad trip with Winkler and Estwick.

George has been sponsored since 2004 by an orphan support program developed by Winkler, a Tanzanian AIDS control program and Jones. A caseworker had identified George as a particularly needy case and having great potential. He was removed from an abusive relative’s care and given to a foster mother, who was a school teacher. He thrived in his new environment and earned top scores in high school. He is now poised to begin university in Tanzania and hopes to become a pharmacist.

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